Our Sector Spotlight campaign has returned for the summer holidays. Following the opening of the new Balfour Hospital, we will be focusing on the range of clinical and non-clinical careers available within NHS Orkney and - due to the number of jobs within the NHS - we will be shining a spotlight on this sector for the next two weeks.
For our first Sector Spotlight on NHS Orkney, we have spoken to Lizzie Morris, Medical Records Officer.
Lizzie first started with NHS Orkney on a work placement, which helped her secure a permanent job with the organisation. She has undertaken different roles in the organisation and has completed two Modern Apprenticeships while employed with NHS Orkney.
Can you describe a typical day as Medical Records Officer?
There are many aspects to my role but mostly I am responsible for answering queries regarding patient care such as appointments or clinic queries. I am involved in the processing of information such as referrals to clinics, organising clinics and appointments, typing clinic letters and distributing clinical information to appropriate sources.
How did you end up in your current role?
I first started at NHS Orkney doing work experience in Human Resources as part of a course at Orkney College called ‘Training for Work’. This helped me to be successful in an application to be a Filing Clerk in Medical Records. This involved the filing and sorting of clinical notes and patient files.
I was then trained on reception duties in X-ray and became the receptionist.
I then applied for a job with the Medical Secretaries as Gynae/Anaesthetist PA but was unsuccessful. I was however, offered to fill the position of the person who had been offered the PA job which was Team Secretary to Surgeons. In this role I helped the Surgical PA to process referrals, arrange appointments and type letters.
I then applied for a job as Medical Records Officer but again was unsuccessful and offered the job of the successful applicant – Medical Records Typist. Through all my experience in my different job roles, I was then offered the role of Medical Records Officer.
What is the best thing about your job?
The variety of the work, although the processes are the same the work always differs which keeps things interesting and means that I am always learning new things which I enjoy.
What is the worst thing about your job?
Due to restrictions on the NHS many patients do not always receive the care they need within suitable timeframes. I find it hard to explain to patients that there is a wait for an appointment when they are struggling and unhappy with the service. I try to empathise and give as much information as possible but it can be upsetting when there is nothing more I can do.
What skills do you need to be a Medical Records Officer?
A lot of the work I do is using computers and many different systems so it is important that I can competently use these systems.
Communication and teamwork are vital in the smooth running of Medical Records. This ensures that work is carried out and completed as we share the duties together and work with part-time members of staff. This means that meetings and handovers are very important.
An understanding of medical terminology is important to understand and interpret clinical information so that the administration is kept clear and accurate.
Problem solving is also a useful skill to have as there can be quite a lot of investigating required into the stages of patient care so that we can understand what the next steps are and relay this to the clinicians or patients when required.
What qualifications do you have?
1. SVQ2 Healthcare support (Non-clinical)
2. SVQ3 Business and Administration
Both courses completed as a Modern Apprentice through NHS Orkney after being employed by them.
Would you recommend a career with the NHS?
Yes, working for the NHS is very rewarding and there are many great opportunities available, such as varied job roles and the chance to be taken on as a Modern Apprentice and gain a qualification whilst working.
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For more information on NHS Careers, visit: https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/